UK
22/05/2014 06:13 BST | Updated 22/05/2014 06:59 BST

Paul And Sandra Dunhams' Own Lawyer Compares Them To Abu Hamza

A retired British couple who are facing extradition to the US are being held at Heathrow Police Station and will now be flown out of the UK today, it is understood.

The lawyer for grandparents Paul and Sandra Dunham, who took a drug overdose in an apparent suicide bid the night before they were due to hand themselves in, has compared their case to Abu Hamza.

Karen Todner said the radical preacher's case actually proved that suspects should be tried in the UK, not extradited to the US.

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Paul and Sandra Dunham, the retired British couple set to be handed over for extradition to the US

The couple, both 58, were remanded in custody at Westminster Magistrates Court on Friday after Senior District Judge Howard Riddle concluded they had taken the drugs deliberately to avoid or delay their extradition to face fraud charges.

A source familiar with the situation has said they are being held at Heathrow Police Station overnight before being extradited today.

"Mr and Mrs Dunham are a hard-working couple from Northamptonshire who strenuously deny the allegations against them. Nevertheless this country is forcibly sending them to America to face trial in a justice system where plea arrangements are effectively forced upon people," Todner said in a statement.

"I understand David Cameron has recently stated that the Abu Hamza conviction shows that we ought to be extraditing people to America with greater expedition. What in fact this case shows is that Mr Abu Hamza should have stood trial in the United Kingdom and faced British justice.

"How many people like Mr and Mrs Dunham have to be extradited before this Government will uphold the promises they made whilst in opposition to change this treaty with America?"

The couple lost a High Court battle last month against extradition to stand trial over fraud charges relating to Mr Dunham's company, Pace.

Dunham, who was chief executive, president and a 20% shareholder in the US company which manufactured soldering irons for the electronics industry, was indicted on 13 counts of fraud and money laundering by a grand jury in Greenbelt, Maryland, in December 2011.

Mrs Dunham is accused of eight counts of fraud for allegedly aiding and abetting him. The couple deny any wrongdoing.

Journalists due to take a statement outside the Dunhams' property in Northampton last Thursday alerted police when the couple did not answer the door.

Officers forced the door open and contacted paramedics, who arrived in two ambulances and took the couple to Northampton General Hospital, where they spent the night.

Speaking from hospital before being transferred to HMP Wandsworth, Dunham told the Telegraph he and his wife has attempted suicide because they had lost hope.

“We always said that while there was hope, we would be strong and deal with everything," he said.

"But when we felt there was no hope, the choice we had made – to end our lives together – was what we tried to do.”

Asked if enough consideration had been given to the Dunhams' mental health, Home Secretary Theresa May said: "The law now is that the Home Office, the Home Secretary, does not have the power to intervene.

"These are matters that go before the court and it's obviously for their legal representatives to decide whether they wish to take matters further before the court.

"But the decisions about the extradition are now for the court and not for the Home Secretary to take."